Today marks the 20th anniversary of the merger between ISP and WorldFIP as recognized by the business filings. So many things have evolved since the merger first happened and here we are 20 years later talking about a new merger between HART and Fieldbus Foundation to create FieldComm Group. Exciting times indeed. We all look forward to what the future will hold!
I found myself reading an interesting article today from Wired.com. It was an article on the “connected home” of tomorrow. As we see more and more of our lives pushed towards automation, it just seems natural that automation would extend into a smarter home. In fact, I have a digital meter outside my home that not only provides my electricity provider the convenience of reading my meter remotely, it also allows me to view my energy consumption from a day to day basis…even down to a hour by hour basis. It’s really cool stuff. Every week I receive an email that details my electricity use each day, and even gives me the high and low temperatures in my city on those days. Even more impressive, I can compare the usage over time (last week, last month etc.). Still further, I have a Wi-Fi connected thermostat that allows me to setup, monitor and change my thermostat without ever having to get off the couch or even be at home altogether. Life is grand.
As more and more start-ups begin designing more complex advancements into our homes to automate things like our lights, TVs, dishwashers etc. the more we put ourselves at risk to cyber attacks. There is an inherent risk with opening your home to outside connections, but those risks exponentially increase with obsolete systems or buggy works done by low budget automation houses. This is where standards can help and where on line in particular from the article stuck out to me: “The best way to ward off…problems before they metastasize is to embrace openness.”
I will not argue that open standards are inherently more secure than a proprietary solution, but in general there are many reasons why it actually can be. The difference is in world-wide usage of a standard. Proprietary solutions tend to be developed and maintained by a smaller group of highly trained unique individuals. Open standards by contrast are spread widely, and are adopted and implemented by many. The benefit being that buggy back-door findings and strange anomalies get detected sooner, and can be fixed purely based on the number of individuals interacting with it. It’s the same principle that makes “group think” so powerful.
Often, proprietary systems run by a core group of individuals lack the outside view of others. Ever heard the saying “Can’t see the forest for the trees?”. This is the same idea. The core group gets so engrained in doing what they do, that they cannot see a flaw if it exists. I’m sure the people over at Siemens would love to have prevented the Stuxnet virus that left a big black eye against their teal coloring. I think everyone can agree on that.
By adopting open standards, individuals and companies can minimize risk and ensure longevity to their investments. Open standards are owned or run by one single manufacturer so if one goes bankrupt or can’t offer the solution you need, another is there to take its place.
Long live standards-based protocols! Long live fieldbus.
P.S. For those interested in the article that started it all, check out the article posted on wired here: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/connected-home/
Austin, Texas, July 25, 2014 – The Boards of Directors of the Fieldbus Foundation and the HART Communication Foundation are pleased to announce that they have approved unifying the two Foundations into a new industry organization dedicated to the needs of intelligent devices and their integration in the world of Process Automation.
The combined power of both organizations will serve to protect the investments that end users in Process Automation have made in HART and FOUNDATION™ fieldbus communication technologies. The mission of the combined organization will be to develop, manage, and promote global standards for integrating devices into automation-system architectures, providing functional solutions for process automation suppliers and end users. Suppliers will also profit from the increased efficiencies in resource utilization, procedure consistency, and member service and support improvements.
The Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation have a long history of cooperation. For example, the two worked together to develop common international standards, such as Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) specifications and Field Device Integration (FDI) technology. Combining the organizations offers significant potential for harmonizing the procedures and efforts supporting the two protocols, as well as simplifying each technology’s implementation while better delivering their full benefits in plant operation and maintenance.
The Foundation Fieldbus and HART specifications will continue to exist individually, and to evolve into the future. Each protocol will retain its own brand name, trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
The new organization will continue development, support, and promotion of the two existing protocols, and will direct the development, incorporation, and implementation of new and overlapping technologies. Thus, the new organization will eventually serve as the single source for FDI, the sole integration tool for HART and FOUNDATION fieldbus technologies. The name of the proposed organization is not yet finalized.
The next step will be to complete the membership ballot by the end of summer 2014. Following a successful membership vote, legal filings for the creation of a new not-for-profit entity will take place in September 2014. As a final step, it is expected that the new organization offices will be consolidated and located near Austin, Texas, in early 2015.
About the Fieldbus Foundation
The Fieldbus Foundation is a global not-for-profit corporation consisting of leading process end users and automation companies. Within the Fieldbus Foundation, end users, manufacturers, universities and research organizations work together to develop an automation infrastructure that allows you to view your process in high definition; manage information effectively; and optimize people, processes and technology. For more information, visit their web site at www.fieldbus.org.
About the HART Communication Foundation
The HART Communication Foundation (www.hartcomm.org) is the technology owner and standards organization for the HART Communication Protocol. Founded in 1993, the Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization providing support for the HART Communication technology and standards worldwide. The Foundation is supported by a global membership of 319 companies. HART Communication is the leading technology for process measurement and control with more than 40 million HART-enabled devices installed worldwide.
Success! The Fieldbus Foundation’s North American Marketing Committee participated in the first seminar of 2014 year in Calgary, AB Canada on June 5th and 6th.
The engineering offices of Fluor in Calgary started the successful week by hosting the Fieldbus Foundation for a lunch and learn for over 35 engineers from the Quarry Park and Sundance locations. The event was led by Talon Petty of the Fieldbus Foundation with subject experts Mike Clark – BusCorp, David Lancaster – Previously of Bechtel, and John Rezabek – Ashland Chemical. The event was very well received by the engineers who showed a strong understanding of FOUNDATION fieldbus, yet also a thirst for the latest information.
Mike Clark presented on the topic of what the Fieldbus Foundation dubs VirtualMarshalling. Mike’s presentation, titled “Why Make Marshalling Smarter, When You Can Eliminate It?” discusses the solutions available in the industry and how they each work from a schema perspective. Some folks often wonder how they can make marshalling smarter or more user friendly, but from the perspective of FOUNDATION fieldbus, electronic marshalling was eliminated the day FOUNDATION fieldbus was created. With FOUNDATION, the marshalling doesn’t require any hardware or software configuration changes, it’s simply all there. It’s done natively in FOUNDATION fieldbus. Devices simply tell the user what they have available, and the user configures the device as they see fit.
Dave Lancaster presented on the topic of Host/Device Selection. This very important step can often be under-evaluated because a few exciting device features sold a device to the user before he/she could properly understand its capabilities compared to it’s required use case in their application. Fully understanding a users application and needs, give the users the ability to make important selection choices, and when the user spends the extra time fully understanding the impact of his/her choices during the host/device selection, the project is more successful overall. Dave’s presentation offers key consideration points for users and engineers to think about during the selection phase.
A big thanks goes out to all of the engineers at Fluor that participated in the lunch and learn and the team there at Fluor that helped coordinate the activity.
The event on June 6th, hosted at Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary, was the 2nd event in as many days and was a smashing success with roughly 130 registered attendees for the day-long event. The event covers a full project lifecycle from infrastructure selection to maintenance and device replacement. You can read the full agenda here: Calgary Agenda.
Hosting some of the most knowledgeable FOUNDATION experts in North America, the seminar challenged some past notions and offered some helpful best practices based on years of experience. The 2014 seminar is all-new down to the demo system on display. In the past years, the demonstration units showed static devices on display, but in 2014 the new unit actually runs a live process during the event to fully immerse the audience and to illustrate how powerful FOUNDATION fieldbus is for process applications. One particular such instance is when we illustrate Control in the Field (CiF). After demonstrating the redundancy and robustness of the host system, a catastrophic failure is simulated via complete loss of the control system. Despite total loss of the DCS, the attendees see continued control of the process level application via CiF. To take it a step further, a dump valve is opened to show an immediate loss in level after which the valve goes full open and continues to maintain level even with this additional process disruption. It’s a powerful demonstration.
There are 2 more seminars in North America currently scheduled for 2014. The locations are Baton Rouge, LA and Houston, TX (Sept 15-16 & Sept 17-18 respectively). If you’re in either of those areas be sure you sign up to attendee the new seminar, you won’t regret it! You can view additional information at http://fieldb.us/seminars-2014. Other global seminars can be found by going to http://www.fieldbus.org and browsing under the “Global” section of the website for specific regions.
Another big thanks goes out to all of our seminar sponsors that allow us to host these events free of charge to attendees. These guys have great FOUNDATION fieldbus solutions to showcase to attendees at each show.
Back on November 6-8th 2013 the Fieldbus Foundation’s Japanese committee participated in the Measurement & Control Show in Tokyo. It was a great success. This event, previously called JEMIMA, is the biggest Process Automation trade show in Japan and thanks to the hard work of the Japanese marketing committee, the Fieldbus Foundation booth at the show was very well received. We do not have any hard numbers on the total yet, but the 2011 show in Tokyo hosted over 25,000 visitors and over 300 booths!
On display at the booth was the new FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology. This new enabling technology helps to better expand Fieldbus capabilities to remote assets without the traditionally complex custom solutions available in the past. ROM allows for the integration of multiple wireless technologies as well as traditional wired standards into the FOUNDATION infrastructure. The booth on display showed ISA100.11a, WirelessHART and traditional wired HART and H1 all working together in a single system. Since these technologies are all being adopted into the open architecture of fieldbus, it also gives the user the added assurance of scalability for integrating future wired & wireless standards.
Be sure to check out the photos we posted from the event on our Flickr page:
The Fieldbus Foundation also hosted a press conference on November 6 2013 to the local media about updates that have happened with ROM since our official announcement at the show in 2012. Speakers at this conference included the President & CEO of the Fieldbus Foundation, Mr. Richard Timoney, as well as VP of Asia Pacific Operations, Mr. Hisashi Sasajima.
Fieldbus Foundation Middle East Marketing Committee Supports ISA Automation Conference 2013, Saudi Arabia – December 2013
|Luay H. Al-awami – Saudi Aramco|
|Mehul Vaidya – Chairman FFMEMC|
|Get back to the basics with the new FOUNDATION fieldbus brochure|
Click on the link above to download the brochure and understand how this real-time digital communication network designed specifically for process control can help you gain the competitive edge through reduced hardware footprint, reduced device count, faster commissioning, tighter control, better signal quality and advanced diagnostics.
The Fieldbus Foundation also has many alternative resources available to help understand the value of FOUNDATION technology on an ongoing daily basis. Below are a few;
- YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/FieldbusFoundation
- LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Fieldbus-Foundation
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/FOUNDATIONField
- Slideshare – http://www.slideshare.net/Fieldbus-Foundation
- Fieldbus Forums – http://forums.fieldbus.org
Official FOUNDATION Fieldbus News Outlets
The Fieldbus Foundation Middle East Marketing Committee To Host End User Technology Seminars in Saudi Arabia and Qatar – June 2013
- June 4th: Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
- June 5th: Doha, Qatar
The General Assembly in Shanghai saw over 260 end users register and over 110 manufacturers/reps in attendance. It was a great chance for everyone to talk and share their successes and solutions surrounding FOUNDATION fieldbus. To review the event agenda from the 2013 event, you can click here: Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly Agenda
You can also watch the short video shot on location to see what the General Assembly looked like in person below: